James Cameron’s original plan for Aliens, his sequel to Ridley Scott’s smash-hit, Alien, would have made for a much darker film, and put a very different spin on Ellen Ripley. Aliens is a stand-out in the Alien franchise, widely considered to be the strongest sequel thanks in large part to James Cameron’s mix of Alien’s horror and action sequences that brought life and drama to franchise. Aliens marks Sigourney Weaver’s return as Ellen Ripley, who journeys to LV-426, the planet that the Nostromo crew first encounter the Xenomorphs, along with a crew of Colonial Marines to investigate the disappearance of an entire colony of human beings.
While Aliens was praised for its combination of heavy action scenes featuring the Marines, and tender moments shared between Ripley and the abandoned child, Newt, the original script would have leaned much heavier on the original film’s horror tones. Aliens’ deleted scenes and original story plans paint a much darker picture of what could have unfolded on LV-426, so many are happy that Cameron chose to take the film in a different direction. Despite the franchise faltering with the releases of Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection, it would have been a shame to fall at the first hurdle, had the direct sequel to Alien been a misstep too.
Aliens Cut Several Scenes With Ripley’s Daughter & Newt
In the opening moments of Aliens, Ripley is found in stasis, 57 years after the events of Alien, and is returned to civilization to be debriefed by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. There, Ripley is informed that her daughter had grown up and passed away before she was found, though this moment would have played out very differently in Cameron’s original script for Aliens. The original plan would have seen Ripley’s daughter older, but alive and well, with the two being connected via a video-call which would have seen Ripley’s daughter professing her hatred for her mother, who she feels abandoned her.
This would have been an incredibly harrowing moment, and certainly would have informed Ripley’s decisions going forward, as the original script would have also seen far fewer scenes of Ripley and Newt bonding on LV-426. Newt was the only survivor of the Xenomorph attack on the human colony, and quickly became something of a surrogate daughter to Ripley, who cleaned her up and cared for her during the events of the film. This relationship between Ripley and Newt was almost completely different, as Ripley would have had very little interaction with the girl.
How Aliens Almost Ruined Ripley’s Character
Throughout Aliens, Ripley was shown to be a hugely compassionate person, who cared so deeply about the fate of the colonists, and about eradicating the Xenomorph threat, that she was willing to travel back to LV-426. If these original ideas had been kept in the final film, Ripley would have been a much colder and less relatable character. The hatred felt by her daughter would have painted Ripley in a bad light, and the loss of bonding scenes with Newt would have given her very little emotional motivation during Aliens action scenes.
Ripley is certainly a troubled character, but it’s her strength and resilience in the face of this adversity that makes her so brilliant to watch. The loss of her relationship with her daughter, and the growth of her bond with Newt had a huge part to play in this. Had these original plans for Aliens gone ahead, these core elements would have been stripped away, making for a much more solemn and darker version of the film, and a much less lovable version of the character.